Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Warrantless Blogtapping Program

Issue: When Conservative Republicans get caught with their pants down with a prostitute, somehow it's always partly the Ho-Mama's fault, too.

Ya gotta love it. John Hawkins of the Right Wing News blog has a post up about the DC Madam and U.S. Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) having been caught in the crotch-hairs -- umm, I mean cross-hairs -- of her professional "escort" service. Now David Vitter is somewhat of an aside in his posting, but this is precisely part of the problem I have with this posting by Hawkins. Hawkins doesn't defend Vitter; but his whole posting is designed to focus the attention on the DC Madam and criticize her efforts to try to save her own skin by releasing the phone numbers of her clients. Here's how Hawkins ended his posting in this PS:

PS: If Palfrey's mother is alive, I bet she's really proud of what her daughter turned into: a professional pimp/whore who's dragging thousands of people's lives through the sewer before she goes to jail for what will hopefully be an extremely long sentence in a very unpleasant prison.
So it boils down to one bad person: the DC Madam.

Forget the fact that those "thousands of people" whose lives are being dragged through the sewer actually CHOSE to make use of her services. Don't you think that, at some point, it is all fair play that those who engage the services of an illicit prostitution/escort service have to pay the consequences for the choices that they made? Whatever happened with that good conservative value of pointing the finger of blame at the very people who made the DC Madam's business thrive? Without them, there is no DC Madam. Yet, to listen to Hawkins, it's as if the DC Madam's publishing of her clients' phone numbers is committing a transgression much worse than those who made use of her service, some of whom, like David Vitter (R-LA), made a mockery of his marriage and his family in the process.

Politically, David Vitter will surely pay some kind of price for his behavior. Personally, if this juicy little tidbit from his wife is true, I wonder if he's already paid another very heavy price for his "sin":
Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he'd had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston's wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

But I digress ... Back to point: the Hawkins strategy of pointing the harsh finger at the DC Madam, and saving his empathetic comments for the adulterous john, is just not very conservative, is it?

Now, some of the RWN commentariat are trying to rationalize this and spin this away. I guess I can understand the need to do this to try and save face. But let's just take it as the spin that it is. One commenter, my respected rival StanW, writes:
This is guilt by association. It is also guilty until proven innocent. We do not know if this person actually participated in the service, did an inquiry, or was just "in the list".

What this is, is a classic liberal tactic. Smear a person by accusation and supposition. *IF* he is guilty of a crime, rub him with pork chops and throw him to the wolves. But until that is proven, neither he nor anyone deserves to have their name dragged through the mud by a whore!

Posted by StanW
July 10, 2007 11:02 AM
Another commenter, RWNReader2, a fellow New Orleanean with whom I have sparred often, writes the following:
Whatever you think about Vitter's personal failings, the morality of his actions, etc., there are a few facts to consider:

(1) The list is an "old" list, and represents info from the past. There is a real difference someone faces when caught "in the act" so to speak, vs facing something from their past that they have already made peace with.

(2) Vitter is out in front of this, saying the right thing - he's not making excuses.

(3) There will be a senate race in Louisiana next year, and it will not be Vitter who's up for re-election. Thanks to Katrina, Landrieu is extremely vulnerable - in fact she's politically dead - and La. republicans (and N. La. dems for that matter) that might be tempted to run against Vitter will first be tempted to run against Landrieu.

(4) Louisiana's most popular Republican, Bobby Jindal, will be Govenor of the state at the time, and will not likely run against him.

In other words, don't count Vitter out.

Posted by RWNReader2
July 10, 2007 11:18 AM
So, the spin goes like this: Vitter himself admittedly "sinned," trashed his marital vows in the process, and embarrassed his family. But it's old news (as if it were a youthful transgression of his college years!), so that makes it not-so-bad. And at least he admits this and accepts responsibility for it. That's got to count for something, right? He hooks up with a prostitute and trashes his marriage, but it's somehow better because he admits this? If he really wanted to come clean and admit this as an act of contrition, why did he wait until the incontrovertible evidence became public to do so? Really, all this now tells me is that he only "admitted" his "sins" when the unassailable evidence of his complicity and "sinfulness" became public. In other words, he is reacting to bad news. He is certainly not "out in front of it." Yeah, he is owning up to being an adulterous whore-mongerer. And there's supposed to be something admirable in that? What's the good conservative explanation for that one, I ask?

And, I would say to those like StanW who want to believe Vitter is innocent until proven guilty: What do we make of the fact that Vitter is not only not denying the accuracy of these charges, but is actually admitting that there's some substance to them that is not at all favorable to his position? That's a head-in-the-sand argument. It just doesn't fly.

In the end, Vitter has lost whetever claims he may have had to any kind of moral authority on the sanctity of the institution of marriage, the dignity of proper sexual relationships, and a respect for family. And for Hawkins to cast more aspersions at the DC Madam than he does towards Vitter and his like is not only misplaced, it is very out of character for someone who claims to be part of the party of moral superiority and individual responsibility.


Huck said...

Hi, StanW - Please set me straight! I'll look forward to it. ;)

What is it with soberannie, anyway? Seems she doesn't like me commenting on what goes on at RWN, even considers it plagiarism and stealing, but apparently she has no compunctions about commenting at RWN on what goes on here at The Huck Upchuck.

I find that quite amusing, almost even Vitter-esque in its hypocrisy along the "do as I say, not as I do" lines! ;)

Kingfisher said...

Huck, you better be VERY careful in this area.

While I agree that Vitter should be history, databases and computer lists are completely untrustworthy. How hard is it to add names to a database? Palfrey has even admitted that her database may be contaminated in one way or another.

While I agree with you that the names of the Johns should be exposed it is also entirely possible that she can use it as a blackmail tool against an innocent person. Maybe she'll be honest maybe she won't. In my professional experience, data entries can be added, changed or deleted at the drop of a hat. Palfrey's in control of the list not law enforcement so there is nothing stopping her from using extortion.

And, for the record, I am NOT defending Vitter or any of the johns. All I'm saying is that this list of hers is not a trusted source. The dancer in the Duke rape case lied and look what happened to those three men. Paying for sex may be morally wrong but so are false accusations.

If one person is successfully able to prove that he was not a client, all her credibility will go out the window.

Huck said...

Hi, kingfisher - Thanks for posting. Before I respond, let me just say that I saw your question to me at RWN and I tried to answer it in an update to my most recent blog entry. Now, as to the Vitter thing; what you say is true and that the subject merits care. But, the difference in the Duke lacrosse case and this situation with Vitter is that the lacrosse players always maintained their innocence, but Vitter has not denied the charges publicly, which I would expect any innocent man to do, and he has even admitted to a serious sin. What else is one to make of this? This is not a new thing with Vitter. If the charges or accusations were false, why is Vitter hiding out? Why doesn't he categorically deny them and defend himself vociferously and publicly? That's what I'd do.

And let's just say there is a credibility issue with the Madam, that still doesn't mean Vitter didn't do as accused. The evidence against Vitter seems to be pretty convincing at this point, and Vitter's doing nothing to contest it. We work with what we have in front of us. That is all that I'm doing.